College Sports

Charlotte 49ers spring football game: A new face at QB, plus 4 more reasons to watch

Running back Benny LeMay (32) is one of eight returning offensive starters for the Charlotte 49ers.
Running back Benny LeMay (32) is one of eight returning offensive starters for the Charlotte 49ers.

The Charlotte 49ers’ spring football game is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at Richardson Stadium. There won’t be any gimmicky formats for this game, just four 15-minute quarters (with a running clock) between the Green (starters) and White (backups) teams.

There also won’t be any special-teams plays, although there will be some punting and field-goal attempts without pressure.

Here are five things to watch during Saturday’s Green-White game, which officially wraps up spring practice:

1. New face at quarterback?

It appears redshirt freshman Chris Reynolds has edged ahead of senior Hasaan Klugh for the starting quarterback slot – for the time being, at least. Reynolds and Klugh will both play for the Green team, but coach Brad Lambert said Reynolds will start.

“Chris has been the most consistent,” Lambert said. “He’s handling the pocket really well, navigating and with his footwork, eyes down the field.”

Lambert said the competition at quarterback remains close and that Klugh, last season’s starter, has also had a strong spring, especially in limiting turnovers.

The 49ers' offensive system will change to more of a pro-style under new coordinator Shane Montgomery, which might suit Reynolds more than Klugh. Two other quarterback options for the 49ers will arrive this summer: Freshman Brady Pope (South Iredell High) and Evan Shirreffs, a grad transfer from Miami.

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2. Injury report

Sophomore Kameron Duncan, who was expected to provide depth at the running back position, will miss the season after tearing his ACL last week. The 49ers are pretty much set at that position, with Benny LeMay and Aaron McAllister coming off solid seasons. Calvin Camp, a redshirt freshman from Shelby High, will get a chance behind them.

3. Strong defensive front

Lambert has been pleased with the continued emergence of two defensive linemen — ends Tyriq Harris (who moves from linebacker) and Alex Highsmith. There’s also experience in Zach Duncan (who led the team with 3.0 sacks last season), Tyler Fain, Timmy Horn and Nick Martin. There's more help on the way, too. Junior-college transfer Dantrell Barkley, who originally signed at South Carolina, will join the 49ers in August.

4. Linebacker depth wanted

Linebacker is usually a strong point of Charlotte’s defense, and should continue to be with Jeff Gemmell, Juwon Foggie and Anthony Butler back. But Lambert is looking for depth and hopes he has it in redshirt freshman Jonathan Francois and sophomore Will Graham.

5. Who will punt and kick?

Replacing four-year punter Arthur Hart is still an open question. Lambert said it’s coming down to Jackson Vansickle and Kyle Corbett. The kicker isn’t likely on campus yet: That will probably be freshman Jonathan Cruz.

David Scott on Twitter: @davidscott14

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